Singing seniors: Elderly Chinese see benefits in health and well-being
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Now to the new series called The Average Chinese. Seeing members of the older generation gathering to sing together is a familiar sight across parks in many Chinese cities. Many of them stumble upon the activity in different ways, and end up singing for a variety of reasons. But what first prompted Chinese seniors to congregate in song, and how have their lives changed since they embarked on the activity? CGTN's Wei Lynn Tang brings us this story.
 
There's a saying: It is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts.
 
There's also another saying: You are the product of how you spend your time.
 
If you want to be happy and live a long life, surround yourself with positive people and an uplifting environment.
 
The Chinese old folks typically seen singing and exercising in parks embody this spirit so well.
 
Some began dabbling in physical recreational activities in parks after retiring. And many of them have since found immense benefits to their health and well-being.
 
WANG CHUN PERFORMER "I never knew anything about music when I started. I stumbled upon it after visiting a park many years ago, and fell in love with it. I started singing in 2004 and went on to lead a singing group in 2010. I have also learned to play different musical instruments. When I sing, my frustrations go away. I feel happy mingling with other people. Singing together is good for one's health."
 
You can find so many interesting gems at the park: from people doing stretching exercises, to practising tai chi, playing traditional Chinese musical instruments, or simply just enjoying the serenity of the park.
 
MR. ZHAO AND MS. PAN RETIREES "I have enjoyed listening to opera since I was young, thanks to my parents' influence. But I never got the chance to actually sing until I retired, as I was so busy with work. It is difficult to sing opera without professional training, and admittedly, I was too shy to try it at first. But after receiving encouragement from a teacher I met in a park, I started singing and now I love it very much. It makes me happy."
 
WEI LYNN TANG BEIJING Senior citizens singing in parks is not a new phenomenon in China. In fact, this culture has been ongoing for many years. But what is heartening to note is that even as urbanization finds its way into various parts of the country, this little 'quirk', if you may call it, is still going strong.
 
With the 19th CPC National Congress underway, this group of senior citizens shared their thoughts and expectations.
 
TONG XIANG HUAN FORMER SECONDARY SCHOOL HEADMASTER "Life right now is good for me. The government has already done a good job in improving people's lives. I hope they can continue to focus on policies for the elderly, which includes social care. The government has also paid more attention to reviving traditional cultural teachings, and I hope they can continue to build on this spirit even further."
 
MR. ZHAO RETIREE "The government has strengthened the country's legal system, as we can see from its anti-corruption efforts. Hopefully, it can continue to develop on this further."
 
Singing transcends all ages, and all cities in China.
 
It is refreshing to see the older generation still embracing life with this much vigor. What's more, they are still kept abreast of the country's developments.
 
Singing in the park gives these old folks something to look forward to, everyday. Let's not forget that a happy and occupied mind, is a healthy one. And a healthy society brings forth a prosperous nation. Wei Lynn Tang, CGTN, Beijing.